Ronald McDonald House Toronto
Toronto, Ontario
100,000 square feet
Year Completed 2011
Services: visioning, interior design, furniture planning and design, art consulting
Awards:
ARIDO Award of Merit, 2012

“….. a remarkable hybrid of grace and civility designed to function as an urban hotel and as a refuge of wellness.”

Lisa Rochon, Globe and Mail

This “house in a garden in the city” provides a home away from home for families and their seriously ill children coming to Toronto for specialized medical care. Reflecting a culture of support and compassion, the four-storey building provides all the facilities that 81 families need to make the house their own: communal living, kitchen and dining rooms that are open and welcoming, a school, games and playrooms, library, a variety of different activity rooms and comfortable bedroom suites.

 

Carlyle Design Associates, an integral part of the design team lead by Montgomery Sisam Architects, helped kick off the project by facilitating a visioning process with families, staff, partner organizations and board members and built on this foundation to provide planning and design for interiors, furnishings and art.

True to guiding principles, the house is full of light and connection to gardens and the urban neighbourhood. Communal spaces are grounded with wood and stone and punctuated with walls of lively colour. Family suites are calm, intimate spaces.

Furnishings are an eclectic mix of contemporary, traditional and custom design – comfortable and durable as if in a family home that has evolved and accumulated stuff over generations. 

The art program managed and curated by Carlyle Design Associates integrates over 300 works of original art and photography. Each was selected or commissioned for its special meaning. Highlights include a lyrical wrought-iron entry gate, expressive outdoor sculptures, paintings by children living at the house as well as adults living with disabilities, a collection of paired aerial and detail photographs hanging in all the suites, and a family of sculptural whimsies – funny, fantastical creatures that inhabit the corridors. A mural completed in collaboration with Arts for Children and Youth of Toronto is installed in an outdoor courtyard.

 

Ronald McDonald House Toronto Art Consulting project page.

The paired photographs, remarkable for their visual play on scale, form, pattern and colour are documented in a book “Near and Far”.

Photos by Tom Arban, Stacey Brandford, Angus Fergusson, Donna Griffith and Virginia Macdonald